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No Apologies Necessary

No Apologies Necessary


You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
When a team scores a lot of points and gives up a lot of points and wins like, for instance, in the Bucs' Week 10 win over the Redskins, that is generally considered to be a great victory. Their 36-35 win was viewed as a momentum builder, a win that helped propel them to the division title. Even though one side of the ball, the defense, was generally ineffective and not functioning up to snuff, the Bucs scored a lot of points so everything was OK. There's no talk of, my gosh, they're going to be in trouble if that defense doesn't pick it up. In this case, the win is a great deodorant, washing away the stench of a poor defensive performance. The Bucs' game here is just an example; it happens all the time.

Now, on the other hand, if a team wins with superb defense and not much offense, as the Redskins did on Saturday, the deodorizing effect of the victory is diminished significantly. Just like in the 36-35 game, one side of the ball is working superbly and the other one isn't even competent, but unlike the high-scoring affair it is viewed as an ugly, even undeserved win
Let me ask you this. If a team gave up the most yardage ever by a winning playoff team, would anyone make more than a passing mention of it? No, because needing to score a lot of points to win is considered to be winning "pretty".

Certainly, you'd rather win in a balanced fashion like the Patriots and Panthers did with good play on both sides of the ball. But the Redskins should not have to apologize for winning or feel inferior because only the defense performed well.

Further Review

One fun element of the Bucs game was the fact that they were turned down on two replay challenges and they whined about a couple of other calls. After what happened in November there, it was justice served up a bit cold.

There was zero evidence that Marcus Washington was down by contact on the fumble that Sean Taylor eventually returned for a touchdown and on the second challenge the replay confirmed what the back judge had originally called. As we found out with the "Tuck Rule" earlier this season, some rules may not make sense, but they are there nonetheless.

Generally, the Bucs were baffled about the call on the Shepherd play but they didn't complain about it much. Chris Simms did do some related whining however. He said that while he was OK with the Shepherd call, "But the first interception that LaVar Arrington caught, that was a fumble."

He went on further about his two interceptions, both of which came on tipped passes. "Both interceptions were going to be 20-yard completions." Yeah, and I was going to be the Queen of England, but a few things got in the way of that.

The best comment was made by John Gruden before the game. Talking about the controversial two-point conversions, he said, "I don't care about hurt feelings, all I care about is us." Couldn't agree more, John. Actually, there is one thing I do care about, John. When's your tee time on Monday?

Close Call

This season, I haven’t been doing much reviewing of my Bold Predictions like I did last year. I just didn’t find it to be interesting most of the time, so I didn’t do it.

The reason I did it in the first place was because I didn’t like it when writers touted the predictions that they got right and buried the ones they got wrong. Having gone one game better than the Redskins this time at 12-5 with my winner predictions so far this season, I’ve certainly been right more often than I’ve been wrong, so it’s time to do just a bit of crowing

From my Bold Predictions entry last week:

Chris Simms had the day of his brief NFL career the first time the teams played. He threw for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a gaudy QB rating of 119.8. He wasn’t sacked; for that matter, he barely even hit.
It will be different this time around. . . He will be very fortunate if his rating is half of what it was the first time.

Simms' rating for the game, 52.6, less than half of what it was the first time around.

Cadillac Williams won’t beat them either. Tiki and LT ran against the Redskins this year and Tatum Bell popped a couple of long ones. Nobody else, not Alexander, not Jones (Thomas or Julius), not Jordan, not Westbrook, not Tiki the second time around, ran on the Skins. Cadillac won’t either, and that will worsen Simms’ problems.
Williams gained 49 yards on 18 carries, an average of 2.7 a pop.

The bottom line:
It won’t be pretty and it won’t be for the faint of heart, but the Redskins will survive and advance.

Washington 17, Tampa Bay 13
That's the second week in a row I got the Skins' score on the nose, for the record. I called 31 points vs. the Eagles in that Bold Predictions piece.

Now, back to your regularly schedule pontificating.

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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! 

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